Sunday, November 1, 2015

Brazos House Retreat - Halloween

Hi ho, Hi ho it's off to retreat we go.  I am in shock that today is here.  Where on earth did October go?  I know --- it went to mystery land and never came back until today and bam --- I need to be on my game.  Okay, I can do this.  I packed the car last night and after dropping my sweetheart off at work am on the road to Brazos.  No matter how hard I try to avoid the Chisholm Trail toll road, I cannot do it.  Oh well, I arrive just a wee bit sooner than I thought I would.  As I near the house, for the first time I try Debi Kendrick's trick of counting the cattle guards.  1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.  Yep, it works.  A calm has settled in and I am ready for the weekend.  I feel like the Monday Night Football song ---- ARE YOU READY FOR SOME QUILTING???

I am only there long enough to rearrange the tables a bit when Stephanie arrives and I am treated to help unloading my car.  That is so nice when it happens.  We then fill the house with more stuff from her car and settle in while we wait for everyone else.

 We both take the time to settle in, create our spaces, and make sure all the odds and ends of last minute stuff is ready to go.  The charms are ready and I will tackle nametags as they come in the door.

Ribbons of Love graces my bed although it has not been revealed yet.  I LOVE it.  Okay -- now the place can fill up.

I am still trying to get myself organized and I hear Janet already sewing.  I think she walked in the door, sat down, and started to sew.  How do people do that?  It takes me a couple of hours just to get my head on straight.

The room starts fill --- and then empty.  It is just too dang nice outside to be in here.  We have a quilt being bound on the front porch, and a pillow being finished down by the river.  Yes, it's not all social interaction.  Sometimes, it just the peace and quiet away from home that fills our souls.

This little walk is designed to get a picture of the river.  The last time we were here, it was within three steps of the top.  You can see pictures of it at the end of the post in lined HERE.  Today it is at a normal depth although a bit muddy.

My return up to the house finds it buzzing with activity.  This is the first retreat in awhile where almost everyone is arriving today.  No real latecomers.

It is so nice out and we are one table short inside so an impromptu cutting station is set up by Stephanie and I just have to join her.  How wonderful is this?  Sure wish the mosquitos near my house were not so bad, I would do this all fall.

At various times throughout the day, people can be found relaxing and just enjoying the countryside.  Can you blame them?

With Halloween this weekend, Jen takes a few minutes to finish a costume for her little guy.  Yes, you can do stuff other than quilt at retreat.

An optional class project has been offered this weekend.  It is called Less Than Traditional and although we are all using solid circles, I think I may want to try one later with the four-patches as shown here.  This just takes me back in time and makes me want to smile.

 As late afternoon comes around --- out comes the wine.  I have to say, this is the most interesting use of the beverage holder thus far.  My fear is one tap and wine all over my fabric.  But then, most people are not as clumsy as I am.

A room full of industry.

The library here holds all the furniture from our main room while we are here.  It also serves as a design floor AND a spot for handwork, reading (really?  people read in a library?), and social time.  As I said before, quilting is not required.  A retreats main objective is to let you retreat from life's little distractions and just do something that makes you happy.  Whatever that may be.

I had promised people that if they brought their Ribbons of Love units to the retreat, I would make it worth their effort.  So, a quick reveal shows the two tops.  First up, scrappy and a explanation of what happened.

Then the constant one.  Much better pattern visibility.  Okay, now Mary is on a mission.  She wants her finished before bed tonight.

First:  Time for our first meal together, a quick welcome to all, and a picture or two.  We are missing Cy as she has a bit of a tummy bug and will be arriving tomorrow, thus postponing our pillow exchange for tonight.

It's been a busy first day and people are off to bed rather early.  Well, some of them at least. Jen was caught laying in bed turning her remaining circles right side out.

Stephannie is desperately trying to complete her pillows for the exchange and thanking her lucky stars that the event was postponed.  She does get two of them finished before abandoning Mary and I to the wee hours.

I have finished sewing my circles and now am starting the big TURN.  Goodness, 63 circles sure seems like a lot when you have to do this.  I do not wish to go to bed until they are all turned and am also keeping Mary company.

She is one determined woman and although she has had to rip a few seams, she does managed to complete her Ribbons of Love top.  The smile on her face is just warming to my heart.  Someone likes my design.  All together now -- awwww.

It is almost 3:30 in the morning and Mary and I bid you good night.

Four hours later (yes, at 7:30) my day continues.  I've got people to see and things to do.  My first objective is to lay out the circles I turned last night.  Gotta keep moving if this quilt is going to be complete today.  And by complete, I mean finished entirely.  Quilted and all.

We have three of us in the Target jammies --- well three that were willing to wear them together.  I saw Brenda in some as well and hear rumors that Kelly had them but have no visual to back that up.  Picture time.

The morning zooms by and it is lunch before we know it.  A couple trips into town have been made by various groups and some fun treasures have been brought back already.

Cy has arrived this morning so we plan to do the pillow exchange after lunch.  As I gather everyone into a circle and start reading the story, it appears as though a few ladies are directionally challenged and laughter until tears ensues.

After the exchange --- with their new pillows.  This was so fun -- it will be repeated at an upcoming retreat.  Posting this picture is the first time I've really gotten to look at all of them.  Each one is just so dang cute.

A few months ago Janet was diagnosed with breast cancer and opted to undergo a double mastectomy.  We were all praying for her and decided to make her a quilt to present at this retreat. Love this lady.  Here is our presentation:

Tears like this means we did good.  I always tell my kids that if their gift makes me cry --- it means it touched my heart beyond measure.

Barbara was the winner of my pillow.  I had to show this cos Mister wanted to make sure I put his spider on it.  HAHAHA

Now, back to work ladies.  We have class quilts to finish.  Here are Marti and Candy working on theirs:

Janet getting a lesson on hers from Mary:

Brenda and Lydia just because:

I, too, need to sit down and sew awhile.  This quilt is not going to make itself, although a Samantha Stevens moment would be kinda cool right now.  A quick glimpse out the door and it appears the goats have taken over the yard.  They are my momentary squirrel -- now back to my corner.

I swore I wouldn't make a mess this retreat and several ladies laughed really hard at that.  Apparently they were right -- look at this corner, ugh.  I am sewing though --- my circles are all "twosies" now.

Soon, a "foursie" makes an appearance.  Ooohhh, I may actually like this.  I wasn't sure at first, but the batiks are really looking cool this way.

We have our first "TA DA in the doorway" moment.  Tammy has completed a customer top.  And not long after, she has another one.  Wow.  What is wrong with me?

Play time:

Work time:

And after dinner --- more  play time.  Let's don those silly hats and boas and see what kind of fun we can have.  Oh -- grab your fat quarters and dollar bills --- Vegas time baby.

There is a lot of hexing and wishing going on here.

It was close but Cy walked away with 45 FQ's.  Lucky girl.  Jane has now coined the new retreat phrase of "Screw You" and also gets the award for having travelled the farthest.  She came from Virginia, I believe.  Now for the dollar bills.  It's time to get dang serious.  There are jelly rolls at stake.  The first jelly roll winner is Doris and she receives two minis.  Our large jelly roll goes to Tammy's daughter, Katy, who is visiting and playing in her mom's spot while a headache is nursed.  Yes, she is old enough to gamble.  However, I was right next to her -- just THAT close.  Marti has been our games chairman for this retreat and I thank her from the bottom of my heart.  Having one last thing to worry about is AWESOME!

The merriment has died down and suddenly we have a TA DA.  What?  It's Doris with a small top made from the jelly roll she just won AND the cutest dang book I have ever seen.  Goodness, I don't think I've sewn a stitch yet.

Marti has the first finish for the class project.  This is her take on it - she is rocking the reds and I love it.

While we are at it Candy has finished binding her quilt.  It is too big for the doorway so she opts for the stairs.  Look at this.  It is all handquilted.  Absolutely a masterpiece and we are hoping she enters it in a show.  Wow.

 As I am walking by the ironing board (I know -- do I ever sew?), I spot these placemats that Lydia is working on.  LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I don't know how it happened, but it has.  The room has emptied out and I am the only one remaining.  I grab some candy from my goodies and keep going.  I WANT this top finished and I know it doesn't seem like I have worked at all today, but I am so close to a finish.  I push through and at 2:30 achieve my goal.  My own personal TA DA.  There is no one here to see it so I put it on the design wall, snap a picture and take my weary bones off to bed.  Maybe I can get 5 hours tonight.  Night all.

And it is morning again --- well technically it was morning when I said good night.  HAHA.  Happy Halloween!  It has been raining since yesterday and the river -- she's a rising again.  We take a quick walk down to see if it competes with last spring, but it has a long way to go still.

 Jen is heading home today to be with her kiddos for the holiday but has finished her class quilt -- TA DA!!! (Yep, with Mama in her jammies)

This morning I have a group project for anyone wanting to learn a little paper piecing.  It's a darling little bookmark.  Remember these?  I kitted them up last month and showed them in a blogpost.  Several people start in but when I say that there is a charm for the first one finished, well that lights a fire in Kelly.  She turns all of her energy to this task and is indeed the first one finished.  At another point, Mary finishes hers and leaves it on my table for binding. ??  Oh, and the second coined phrase for this retreat takes place now.  It might be a Freudian slip but when talking with Kelly about this project, I called it "paper pissing."

A quick trip outside for a group picture before we lose people -- Jen and Marti are already departing with others leaving in the morning.  Pictured below:  (back row) Tammy, Marti, Lydia, Jennifer, Cy, Janet, Doris, Brenda, Kelly, Stephanie, (middle row) Jane, Deb, Barbara, (front row) Candy, Stephannie, Mary.

We have a several mother/daughter duos here this time.  You already saw Jen and I with her Ta Da so here are the others:  Stephannie and Barbara

Janet and Stephannie:

Tammy and Katy:

In addition to all the regular fun, tomorrow is Janet's birthday so a celebration at lunch is in order.  Happy, Happy Janet.

Now, back to sewing.  Candy has finished all of her circles and laid them out.  Time to sew.

And time for me to get out of the house.  October is a busy birthday month for my family and I had a call to make yesterday and one to make today.  At least today it is not raining.  A brisk walk down the road lets me sing to my grandson and enjoy the outdoors at the same time.  It's a beautiful day in Rainbow, TX.

When I return, Stephanie has a TA DA.  This quilt is a complete start to finish at retreat.  She even quilted and bound it.  WOW.  Bowing down to her majesty.

It's dinner time and while we are enjoying, Kelly and Mary come running in with another TA DA.  Kelly has finished her class project as well.  Oh my they just get prettier and prettier.  Loving them.

We have Janet show her gifted quilt for a good picture

And these three minds have come together to fix a slight problem in Kelly's quilt.  It needs to be hidden with a label.  What oh what can they come up with?  Tammy has brought her embroidery machine so I'm thinking it will be brought into use.  Yep --- check out the finished label in place and the problem gone.  Excellent.

The night is drawing to a close but I am still working away on these Christmas 9 patch strips of mine while helping Cy with some issues on her top.  After crawling around on the floor for awhile, we have a solution and she is back sewing again.  I have finished my strips and move on to the BOM's that I brought.  YES -- it is after midnight and therefore the first of November.  I'm getting a good start this month.

Cy finishes her top and has her TA DA with me (seems to be a late night pattern here) and then heads to bed.  I am not too far behind her as I finish up my blocks.  It's only close to 4 now.  I'm thinking it might be a bit tougher to get up this time.

Good morning --- it's sad as it is our last day here and people have already left.  I crawl out of bed to say good bye to Lydia and then am into the shower.  When I get out of the shower, the bed just looks oh so good and before I know it, me and my towel are once again slumbering away.  I knew today would be hard.

When I finally crawl out of my stupor and get dressed, people are packing up all over the place.  AND -- there is a goat outside my window having some breakfast.  Speaking of breakfast -- no picture of the scones again.

Janet has given me some crayons and I am ready for a lesson in how to color fabric.  Ooooohhh it is so easy -- Yay, now I can finish my last Christmas block at home.  Well, I say last as I am standing here at my table cutting out another one.  A pretty little angel for my "unique" Christmas quilt block.

It's getting close now.  Many have left but we are determined to stay as long as possible.  Candy has almost finished her class project and I'm wishing I had seen other's efforts better.  I open a tub of Brenda's that I had seen her working on all weekend.  Perhaps next time we will get a TA DA out of these.

And now we have it --- Candy's Halloween project.  I LOVE IT.

And the back --- waay cool

I am the last one here --- no surprise there.  I have a nice visit with Kay, take a picture of my "winnings" and start the pack up process.  Fortunately, we have been given space in a closet and so my car is a little less loaded down.  I only have three weeks before I am back for the Chicken Retreat.  Believe it or not -- I can't wait.  My thanks to all who were here this weekend.  We had quite simply, a magnificent time.  Can't wait to see you all again.


  1. What a grand time that was had!! Your projects, all of them, turned out so nice. Glad to know you spent time outside too. How cool is that, a dedicated closet to stash stuff into!!

    1. We had a blast, Allison. Kay is indeed spoiling us with the closet. Woohoo.